Daily Archive : Thursday March 27, 2014


    The Wheeling Park District has opened its new athletic complex at the renovated Heritage Park. The complex, part of a $38 million park overhaul, features four athletic fields with artificial turf for baseball, softball, soccer and football.

    New turf fields open as Wheeling’s Heritage Park project continues

    A two-year effort to renovate Heritage Park in Wheeling took a significant step toward completion this week when the Wheeling Park District opened the park’s new athletic complex — a key component of the project. Evanston High School and Notre Dame College Prep played a baseball game on the fields Wednesday.

    Wheeling Trustee Mary Krueger had her head shaved as part of a St. Baldrick’s anticancer fundraiser.

    Wheeling trustee shaves head for charity

    It can be a sacrifice for anyone with treasured locks to go under the razor for a head shave at a St. Baldrick’s event, but Wheeling Village Trustee Mary Krueger did just that this month, and raisied more than $2,200 to fight pediatric cancer in the process.

    U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

    Vilsack to talk about healthy meals in Chicago

    U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack plans to visit a Chicago school and talk about healthy summer meals. Vilsack is scheduled to make the visit Thursday to James Otis World Language Academy on Chicago's West Side. Officials say he'll discuss the healthy summer meal program and its importance to Chicago-area children.

    A visibly energized President Barack Obama held a nearly hourlong audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday, expressing his great admiration for the pontiff and inviting him to visit the White House.

    Obama, Francis find common ground among divisions

    President Barack Obama and the Vatican gave distinctly different accounts of the president's audience with Pope Francis on Thursday, with Obama stressing their common ground on poverty and inequality but Vatican officials emphasizing concerns over Obama's health care law, which mandates contraception coverage.

    Tom Karambelas and his father, Pete.

    Case of missing St. Charles man haunts family, friends

    In the days before his disappearance, Tom Karambelas lost his girlfriend, his money and his way. But it wasn't like he hadn't skipped town before. When he walked out the door of the St. Charles house he'd shared with Susan Bacsa for 17 years on Dec. 22, 2011, she thought it was just another of Karambelas' dramatic stunts. So did police. As Karambelas left, he told Bacsa, “You will never see...


    Elgin woman needs $30,000 for care in neglect/cruelty case

    A judge Thursday ordered Stacy Fiebelkorn to put up $30,000 security to pay for the care of some of the animals Kane County seized from her in early March, while she awaits trial on charges of animal cruelty and neglect.

    Jose Gerardo Avila-Ramirez

    Zion man charged in Waukegan bomb threat

    [No Paragraph Style]NewsA Zion man has been charged after walking into the Secretary of State’s office in Waukegan on Thursday morning and claiming he had a bomb, police said. The man did not have an explosive and no one was injured. Jose Gerardo Avila-Ramirez, 25 of Zion, reportedly “entered the facility and yelled that everyone inside was going to die,” according to a...

    Keith Brin

    A battle for GOP chair in Lake County?
    Among the races for party leadership in the suburbs we could see when county parties have their conventions April 16 is a contest for chairmanship of the Lake County Republican Party. Chairman Bob Cook said he was leaning against running for another term. Now, though, he says he’s leaning the other way.

    Children’s music instructor Susan Nierman of Mundelein helps Kensho Beasley, 5, of Mundelein, play a trumpet. during “Ms. Sue’s Musical Petting Zoo!” program Thursday at the Fremont Public Library in Mundelein. Nierman introduced young children to a variety of musical instruments.

    Teacher plants a seed of music for preschoolers in Mundelein

    Ten children were introduced to a variety of musical instruments during “Ms. Sue’s Musical Petting Zoo” that included percussion, string and wind instruments Thursday at Fremont Public Library in Mundelein.

    Monica Labelle of Wheaton Warrenville South High School recites a poem at the state competition for Poetry Out Loud. Labelle won the title of Illinois State Champion, earning her a trip to Washington, D.C., where she will compete next month against 52 other students for a $20,000 grand prize.

    Wheaton Warrenville South senior heading to national poetry competition

    In a poetry competition that started with more than 365,000 students, Monica Labelle is one of 53 still standing. On April 29, the senior from Wheaton Warrenville South High School will recite three poems at the Poetry Out Loud national finals in Washington D.C. The winner will go home with a $20,000 prize — but Labelle is more excited for the opportunity to just take the stage and meet...

    A woman breaks into tears as she places a paper crane as a symbol for hope and healing during a ceremony in memory of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Thursday.

    Australia: ‘Credible lead’ shifts jet search area

    The search zone for the Malaysia airliner that crashed in the Indian Ocean nearly three weeks ago has shifted 680 miles to the northeast of where planes and ships had been looking for possible debris because of a “new credible lead,” Australia said Friday.

    Darrington Fire District 24 volunteer firefighters, Jeff McClelland, from left, Jan McClelland and Eric Finzimer, embrace each other after saying a prayer for the victims and survivors of the massive mudslide above the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River onto Highway 530, in Darrington, on Wednesday.

    Weary mudslide rescuers battle rain, exhaustion

    Weary rescuers in hip waders pressed through rain and their own exhaustion Thursday, searching for more bodies and perhaps a miracle atop the pile of filth and debris that laid waste to a Washington town and killed at least 25 people. Rescue and cadaver dogs occasionally led crews to a wrecked car or the ruins of a house containing a body.

    In this photo from Sept. 21, 2013, Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter, wears APU for “All Players United” on wrist tape as he scores a touchdown during an NCAA college football game against Maine in Evanston. The decision to allow Northwestern football players to unionize raises an array of questions for college sports. Among them, state schools vs. public schools, powerhouse programs vs. smaller colleges.

    Union ruling comes at bad time for NCAA

    They’re battling in courtrooms, and could one day meet over a bargaining table. About the only things the two sides in the debate over big-time college athletics agree on is that things are changing. Schools bringing in hundreds of millions in bloated television contracts. Coaches making the kind of salaries that late UCLA legend John Wooden wouldn’t recognize. Athletes insisting on...

    Jeremy A. Betancourt

    Guilty plea in Gurnee street racing death

    An Antioch Township teen pleaded guilty to aggravated driving under the influence Thursday in connection with a 2013 street-racing crash that left a 16-year-old girl dead. Jeremy Betancourt, 18, faces up to 10 years in prison, a spokeswoman for the Lake County state’s attorney’s office said.

    The government increased its autism estimate on Thursday to 1 in 68 U.S children. That’s a 30 percent jump from the last federal estimate of 1 in 88 children with autism or a related disorder. The latest calculation means autism is more than twice as common as officials said it was just seven years go.

    U.S. autism estimate grows to 1 in 68 children

    The government increased its autism estimate on Thursday to 1 in 68 U.S children. That’s a 30 percent jump from the last federal estimate of 1 in 88 children with autism or a related disorder. The latest calculation means autism is more than twice as common as officials said it was just seven years go.

    Pope Francis and President Barack Obama convserse at the Vatican Thursday. Obama called himself a “great admirer” of the pontiff and considers him a kindred spirit on issues of economic inequality.

    Obama, Francis find common ground — and divisions

    Face to face for the first time, President Barack Obama and Pope Francis focused publicly on their mutual respect and shared concern for the poor on Thursday. But their lengthy private discussion also highlighted the deep differences between the White House and the Catholic Church on abortion and birth control.

    Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, followed by Air Force Global Strike Command Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, arrives for a news conference at the Pentagon Thursday. The Air Force is firing nine mid-level commanders and disciplining dozens of junior officers at a nuclear missile base in response to an exam-cheating scandal that spanned a far longer period than originally reported.

    Commanders fired in nuke missile cheating scandal

    The Air Force took the extraordinary step Thursday of firing nine midlevel nuclear commanders and announcing it will discipline dozens of junior officers at a nuclear missile base, responding firmly to an exam-cheating scandal that spanned a far longer period than originally reported.

    The International Monetary Fund pledged up to $18 billion in loans on Thursday to prop up Ukraine’s teetering economy, and the prime minister warned that everyone is going to feel some pain from the necessary financial reforms ahead.

    West to help Ukraine with $18 billion bailout
    The world rushed Thursday to help Ukraine, with the International Monetary Fund pledging up to $18 billion in loans, the U.N. condemning the vote that drove Crimea into Russian hands and the U.S. Congress backing even harsher sanctions against Russia.

    White pelicans have gathered on Fox Lake on their migration north

    American white pelicans stop in Fox Lake on the way north

    Another impressive visitor has joined bald eagles in the Fox Lake area as the spring bird migration continues. American white pelicans, among the largest birds in North America, have stopped in the area to take advantage of the open water on their way north. "They're massive," said Fox Lake resident Nadine Norton.

    George LeClaire/gleclaire@dailyherald.com Signs in front of the O’Hare CTA station direct riders to take shuttle buses. Work continues at the site of Monday’s Blue Line crash and officials anticipate reopening the station some time this weekend.

    Expert says safety devices might not have given train time enough to brake

    What does the CTA's intention of allowing more space for a device that triggers the brakes in trains heading into the O'Hare station say about conditions before a serious crash Monday?


    Tip leads to drug arrest in Fox Lake

    A Waukegan man was arrested in Fox Lake and charged with selling large amounts of heroin and cocaine, police announced on Thursday. Thomas M. Brosier, 55 of the 200 block of West Street in Waukegan, was arrested on Wednesday at the Patio Motel in Fox Lake after the police department received a tip on its drug and gang information hotline about the drug sales, according to a news release.

    Alia Bongiorno gets her face painted by Ruth Flores during the Hanover Park Kids at Hope Community Resource Fair held two years ago. The event returns Saturday.

    Hanover Park plays host to kids resource fair

    Hanover Park officials will offer familes a place to browse kid-friendly programs and services this weekend. The Kids at Hope Community Resource Fair will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The free event lets parents "know there's opportunities for their children in a caring environment," Mayor Rodney Craig said.

    Water flows in a usually dry riverbed Wednesday in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico. Colorado River water has begun pouring over a barren delta near the U.S.-Mexico border, the result of a landmark bi-national agreement being celebrated Thursday.

    Colorado River begins flooding Mexican delta

    Colorado River water has begun pouring over a barren delta near the U.S.-Mexico border, the result of a landmark bi-national agreement being celebrated Thursday. The gush of water in Mexico is an effort to revive the last 70-mile stretch of the river into the Sea of Cortez. The delta dried up decades ago.

    Jim Simons walks along a sand bar, exposed by low water levels on the Portage Lake channel that leads to Lake Michigan at Onekama, Mich. University of Michigan scientists will conduct a wide-ranging study on how Great Lakes communities can adapt to fluctuating water levels.

    Study to address changing water level in Great Lakes

    Great Lakes levels will continue rising and falling in often unpredictable ways and people should learn to deal with the changes instead of trying to tame nature with costly engineering projects, experts said Thursday.

    House Speaker Michael Madigan won initial approval for his so-called millionaire’s tax Thursday.

    Illinois House gets millionaire tax plan moving

    Illinois lawmakers chose to advance an additional income tax on millionaires over a broader shift of taxes toward the wealthy Thursday, setting the tone for months of debate over how much people should pay to help the state stabilize its finances. The House revenue committee voted 6-4 for House Speaker Michael Madigan’s plan to add a new 3 percent tax on income over $1 million, sending it...

    Triplets, from left, Frances Ponicki, Theresa Ponicki and Mary Ponicki, issue a ballot to Russell Butler of Arlington Heights at the Riley Elementary School polling place in Arlington Heights last week. The 17-year-old Prospect High School students worked as election judges for the Illinois primary.

    Arlington Hts. teen triplets work as election judges

    Voters at Riley Elementary School in Arlington Heights may have thought they were seeing triple while voting on Election Day earlier this month. They were seeing Mary, Theresa and Frances Ponicki. The triplets spent the day at the polling place as election jduges.


    Help for homeless veterans:

    Lovell FHCC’s Walk-In Center for Homeless Veterans will expand its hours to five afternoons a week beginning March 31.


    Sustainable farming in Lake County:

    Sustainable farming and gardening in Lake County will be the topic of the Lake County Audubon Society’s program at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 7 at the Libertyville village hall, 118 W. Cook Ave.


    Round Lake business summit:

    Round Lake business owners are invited to share ideas and concerns with village officials at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 2, at Sharky’s, 601 Railroad Ave.


    Book sale at Libertyville library:

    The Cook Park Library in Libertyville will host a book sale April 4-6.


    Batavia schools to seek short-term loan

    For the second year in a row, Batavia School District 101 will take out a short-term loan to cover a potential cash-flow dip in the last months of the fiscal year.


    Palatine Jaycees to host Easter Egg hunt

    The Palatine Jaycees will host an Easter egg hunt for children up to nine years old at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 12, at Towne Square on Palatine Road in Palatine. “We will be hiding 3,000 Easter eggs filled with candy and prizes in the grassy area of Towne Square,” said Jennifer Ramello, co-chair of the project.


    Fox Valley police reports
    Gregory R. Sabo, 19, of Bartlett, was charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding, DUI, reckless driving, and failure to signal at 3:46 a.m. Sunday on the 1400 block of Ridge Road near South Elgin, according to a sheriff’s report.


    Tri-Cities police reports
    Gregory R. Sabo, 19, of Bartlett, was charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding, DUI, reckless driving, and failure to signal at 3:46 a.m. Sunday on the 1400 block of Ridge Road near South Elgin, according to a sheriff’s report.

    Kenneth Bardlett

    Man pleads guilty to role in Bensenville slaying, fingers gunman

    A 20-year-old Bellwood man pleaded guilty Thursday to aggravated battery with a firearm in the January slaying of a Bensenville convenience store owner. Kenneth Bardlett also has identified the accomplice who fired the fatal shot, prosecutors said, part of a plea deal to assist authorities in their continuing investigation of the crime.

    The Oregon wolf that has trekked across two states looking for a mate is seen in Modoc County, Calif.

    Wandering wolf’s signal ready to fade

    The wandering wolf dubbed OR-7 has enjoyed well over his 15 minutes of fame. But even with continued public interest, he could soon fade from the spotlight. The Global Positioning System collar that has sent regular electronic pulses to reveal his travels for the past three years has eclipsed its normal life span, and state and federal biologists don’t plan to replace it.

    Jeffrey A. Wright

    Naperville man faces child porn charges

    A 56-year-old Naperville man has been charged with six counts of possession of child pornography following a three-month investigation by the Naperville Police Department’s High-Tech Crimes Unit, authorities said. Jeffrey A. Wright of the 700 block of Royal St. George was taken into custody Thursday and was to be transferred to the DuPage County jail.

    Erdenebileg Sambuunyam

    Sleepy Hollow officers involved in shooting back on job

    The two Sleepy Hollow police officers placed on paid administrative leave after they shot and killed a man who brandished a knife and tried to cut them earlier this month, have been cleared for regular duty, Police Chief James Linane said Thursday. “I found no reason that would preclude me from returning them to duty,” Linane said.


    Schaumburg recommends tax break to lure truck repair business

    Schaumburg trustees have recommended that Cook County grant a tax incentive that would bring a Wood Dale-based truck repair business to the village’s Spectrum Industrial Park. If the county grants the Class 6B incentive, AA Truck Repair would relocate to a former FedEx site in Schaumburg. The existing 34,882-square-foot facility — vacant for 3½ years — lies on a...

    Thomas M. Schiferl

    Bartlett man admits stealing from July 4 committee

    A former member of Bartlett’s Fourth of July committee pleaded guilty Thursday to using the organization’s debit card to withdraw more than $4,000 for his personal use. In exchange for his guilty plea to theft charges, Thomas M. Schiferl, 32, of Bartlett was sentenced to 24 months intensive probation and ordered to make restitution

    Illinois State Police will conduct a special enforcement campaign Friday and Saturday in honor of fallen Trooper James Sauter of Vernon Hills. Sauter was killed in the line of duty March 28, 2013.

    Statewide crackdown to honor Vernon Hills trooper killed in crash

    Illinois State Police will be conducting road safety checks statewide Friday and Saturday in a special enforcement operation dedicated to fallen Trooper James Sauter of Vernon Hills. Sauter, 28, was killed in the line of duty March 28, 2013, when his patrol car was struck by a semi truck on the Tri-State Tollway near Willow Road.

    Amanda Howland

    College of Lake County joins other 2-year schools in hiking tuition and fees

    College of Lake County students will be hit with tuition and fee hikes for the next two academic years. Board members at a meeting this week voted to boost in-district tuition by $6 per credit hour for 2014-15 and another $8 in the 2015-16 academic season

    Tony Borcia

    State committee advances boat safety changes

    Boaters would have to display a flag when they’re towing a water tuber or skier to try to avoid accidents like the one that killed a Libertyville 10-year-old last year, under a plan considered by the Illinois Senate Thursday. They shall display a bright orange or red flag when the person has entered the water, either fallen or is entering the boat,” said state Sen. Julie Morrison, a...

    Anna Moeller

    Elgin councilwoman among 8 candidates for Farnham’s seat

    Elgin Councilwoman Anna Moeller is among eight candidates interested in the seat left vacant after Keith Farnham’ resignation as state House representative, officials said Thursday. Kane County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Guethle said local leaders are vetting the candidates and are trying to make a choice as soon as possible. Kane County Board member Cristina Castro said she also...

    Cathy and Dave Seiden struck lottery pay dirt this month when they won $1 million playing the Mega Millions game.

    Downers Grove couple win $1 million, after hunt for lost ticket

    Cathy Seiden bought a $1 million winning lottery ticket this month for the Mega Millions game. And then her husband, Dave, lost it. Dave Seiden says he put the ticket on the kitchen counter before the March 18 drawing. So when his wife called him two days after the drawing asking him where the ticket was, he assumed it was still there. It wasn’t.

    Jason Bauer and Megan Kathka cut drywall that is being installed this week at a Habitat for Humanity home in Carpentersville. A group of 10 Elgin Community College students participated in an Alternative Spring Break program offering students a chance to volunteer in the community for course credit.

    ECC students volunteering over spring break

    The thought of spring break often evokes stereotypical images of college students partying it up on the beaches of Cancun and other like destinations. Ten Elgin Community College students sought a more rewarding way to spend their time by volunteering to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley. “I’m not much of a beach person,” said James Warner,...

    President Barack Obama says more than 6 million Americans have signed up for coverage through the new health insurance markets created by his overhaul. That’s a milestone, fulfilling a goal set by Congressional Budget Office and embraced by the White House. Monday is the deadline to enroll in the new insurance exchanges, although many people will still be able to take advantage of extensions announced this week.

    Obama says more than 6 million signed up for health care

    Back on track after a stumbling start, President Barack Obama’s heath care overhaul reached a milestone Thursday, with more than 6 million Americans signed up for coverage through new insurance markets. The announcement — four days before open enrollment season ends Monday — fulfills a revised goal set by the Congressional Budget Office and embraced by the White House.


    Elk Grove tightens rules on providing tax incentives

    Elk Grove Village is tightening its rules on how many business property tax breaks it will support. Mayor Craig Johnson said for years, Elk Grove has supported businesses receiving Cook County Class 6b tax incentives, which many businesses argue is necessary to be able to afford the cost of building improvements. But Johnson said some businesses don’t make the improvements they promise to...


    Carol Stream man nabbed in international ATM fraud scheme

    A 47-year-old Carol Stream man is one of 17 people charged in an international ATM fraud ring. Alexander Savov and 16 cohorts are accused of using ATM and debit card information stolen in Europe to withdraw funds in the United States and then split the proceeds. All 17 defendants face a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.

    Ken Koeppen is the fifth fire chief in Arlington Heights history.

    Arlington Heights promotes Koeppen to fire chief

    Ken Koeppen, a 34-year veteran of the Arlington Heights Fire Department, has been appointed Arlington Heights Fire Chief, effective immediately. Ken Koeppen has been serving as Acting Fire Chief following the February 2014 retirement of former Chief Glenn Ericksen.


    Fire damages house in Lombard

    Lombard firefighters are investigating the cause of a Wednesday evening blaze that caused roughly $70,000 damage to a house on the 200 block of West Central Avenue. No injuries were reported.


    Harper College to hold nursing symposium for alumni, students

    Harper College's fourth-annual nursing symposium will feature a keynote speech on the use of social media in the field. The event is geared toward alumni, but current students at the Palatine-based community college will get a chance to interact with professionals.


    Elk Grove, Itasca share Devon Avenue bridge improvement costs

    Elk Grove Village and Itasca will be sharing the cost for Devon Avenue bridge improvements over Interstate 290 that are being completed as part of the Elgin-O’Hare Western Access project. The two towns are splitting the $156,253 cost to add decorative fencing, parapet columns, custom concrete form liner, and concrete staining on the outside parapet of the bridge.

    The Academy Award-winning movie “Life of Pi” will be among the 12 movies featured during Oakton Community College’s 27th Modern Language Film Fest being held March 31-April 3. The movies, presented in their original languages with English subtitles, showcase the 13 languages offered by the college.

    Academy Award-winner ‘Life of Pi’ highlights Oakton International Film Fest

    Travel the globe without leaving your seat during Oakton Community College’s 27th Modern Language Film Fest, March 31–April 3. Enjoy 12 fascinating, highly rated films, including the Academy Award-winning Life of Pi. The movies, presented in their original languages with English subtitles, showcase the 13 languages offered by the college. All screenings are free and open to the...


    With or without money, we can still make a difference

    When the lottery jackpots get ridiculously high, it's fun to play "what if." What if I won? If the money was enough that your bills were paid, your needs were met and your family were taken care of, would you continue working? You might not stay at your current job, our Ken Potts says, but most of us would find a way to feel like we were making a difference in the world.

    President John F. Kennedy and Pope Paul VI talk at the Vatican.

    IMAGES: Popes' meetings with U.S. presidents

    President Barack Obama met with Pope Francis for the first time at the Vatican on Thursday, holding a nearly hourlong audience with the pontiff. The president and pope both appeared tense at the start of the meeting, but they were all smiles by the end. Here's a gallery of photos of U.S. presidents with the head of the Catholic Church.

    A law firm hired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says the governor was not involved in a plot to create gridlock near a major bridge as part of a political retribution scheme.

    Christie’s lawyer: Governor not involved in plot

    A law firm hired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday that the governor was not involved in a plot to create gridlock near a major bridge as part of a political retribution scheme. The taxpayer-funded report released by former federal prosecutor Randy Mastro relies on interviews with Christie and other officials in his administration and 250,000 documents, many of them emails and text...

    The Illinois Youth Center in Murphysboro.

    Quinn proposes reopening southern Illinois lockup

    A southern Illinois juvenile prison closed for cost-cutting reasons less than two years ago may be reopened as an adult lockup for drunken driving offenders under Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget blueprint.

    Time Travelers Theatre Ensemble members Garen Rodriguez, left, and Alrick Pivaral create sentences by only speaking the same, improvised words in this game during a previous performance.

    Time Travelers celebrates 10-year anniversary

    Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to Schaumburg Tennis Plus so he could laugh until he cried with Time Travelers, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary.

    A crew member of an Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion patrol plane, looks out of his observation window whilst searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 over the Indian Ocean.

    Spotters fight fatigue in hunt for missing plane

    They stare out at a punishingly unbroken expanse of gray water that seems, at times, to blend into the clouds. Occasionally, they press their foreheads against the plane’s windows so hard they leave grease marks, their eyes darting up and down, left and right, looking for something — anything — that could explain the fate of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.

    Jim Irsay

    Police: Colts owner had $29K in cash when arrested

    Police say Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had $29,000 in cash with him when he was arrested last week on suspicion of intoxicated driving. The Indianapolis Star reports it obtained the Carmel police documents on Irsay’s March 16 arrest through a public records request.


    $56 million settlement proposed in Wisconsin river cleanup

    Six companies, the city of Appleton and a sewerage commission have offered to pay a total of $56 million to help with the massive cleanup of contaminants in the Fox River in northeastern Wisconsin.


    Plenty of ways to fight allergens for you and your pet

    Springtime is the beginning of seasonal allergies for many of us allergy sufferers. As the snow melts and the flowers, grass and trees sprout, so too does the sneezing.

    Searchers examine the area on the western edge of the mudslide where it covers Highway 530 Wednesday morning, March 26, 2014, east of Oso, Wash. The debris field is about a square mile and 30 to 40 feet deep in places, and includes quicksand-like muck, rain-slickened mud and ice.

    Washington mudslide brings tales of heroism, loss

    As the search for Washington state mudslide victims continued, rescuers and residents at the scene brought back tales of heroism, loss and the dangers that remain. Here are a few of their stories.

    This is a rendering of what the outdoor classroom and garden at Whittier Elementary School in Wheaton will look like when it is completed. Most of the work is expected to be done by the beginning of June.

    Wheaton school to enhance its courtyard with plants, landscaping

    Just two years ago, a courtyard enclosed by the walls of Whittier Elementary School in Wheaton was sitting untouched and unused. But members of the parent teacher association's beautification committee saw potential in the space and have since garnered almost enough financial support and donations to complete an outdoor classroom by early June.

    Chicago's Drake Hotel as picture in a circa 1950 postcard.

    Chicago's Drake hotel seeks return of stolen items

    If you ever stole anything from Chicago's Drake Hotel, you can give it back with no questions asked. Officials at the Drake say countless items have been stolen since the hotel opened in 1920, and not just towels.

    Dean Cain is the actorwho played Superman and his Clark Kent alter ego in the 1990s television series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”

    Dean Cain to headline Illinois city's Superman fest

    Organizers of a yearly festival honoring Superman in the southern Illinois city that claims the Man of Steel as its favorite son say this year's installment will have plenty of celebrity fare.

    Fifty-three-year-old Jeffrey Bronken, of Round Lake, was killed Saturday when his small plane crashed in Clearwater, Fla. His daughter Katherine Bronken, 15, died from her injuries yesterday. A third person, Keyana Linbo, 15, a Grant Community High School student, remains in stable condition in a Florida hospital.

    Dawn Patrol: Daughter dies after plane crash; TSA officer sues CTA

    Daughter dies after plane crash. TSA officer injured in CTA crash sues. Cost of animal upkeep disputed in Kane neglect case. Welding machinery likely cause of Des Plaines fire. Fire damages Lombard house. Bail set in Lisle road rage case. LA Fitness hot tub closed in Naperville again. Will union decision shake up college sports?


    Local moms learn football safety, fundamentals at event

    What started with a few phone calls and brainstorming sessions culminated March 14 with suburban moms learning about the sport their kids playing football. The event was organized for moms in the North West Youth Football League.


    Illinois prisoner who escaped gets 11 more years

    An Illinois prisoner who walked away from a work crew last summer has been sentenced to 11 more years in prison. Illinois Department of Corrections officials report that Jared Carter pleaded guilty Wednesday in Crawford County court.


    17 charged in international ATM scheme

    Federal officials say 17 people have been charged in connection with an international ATM fraud scheme. Prosecutors announced Wednesday that 13 defendants were arrested Tuesday in Chicago and two were arrested in Bulgaria.


    2 convicted of murder of Chicago 9-year-old

    Two men have been convicted for the death of a 9-year-old girl who was shot as she bathed her dogs outside her Chicago home. The Chicago Sun-Times reports Chastity Turner was shot in the back in June 2009 as gunmen targeted her drug-dealing father and his cohorts.


    Illinois Girl Scouts donate nearly 28,000 boxes of cookies

    The Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois are sending nearly 28,000 boxes of cookies to U.S. military personnel overseas. The (Joliet) Herald-News reports the cookie donation is part of an annual effort by the organization.


    Boy, 2, dies after falling into Illinois retention pond

    MONTGOMERY — A 2-year-old northern Illinois boy has died, days after he fell into a suburban Chicago retention pond while he wandered away from his family.The (Aurora) Beacon-News reports Mohamed Qattum died Wednesday at Loyola University Medical Center.

    Elgin Police Department sketch artist officer Mike Gough is retiring April 4 after 30 years on the job. The sketch at left is one he made from a skull. Composites, on the other hand, are based solely on victims and witnesses’ accounts.

    Elgin sketch artist retiring after 30 years

    Mike Gough has been a patrolman in Elgin for 30 years, but he’s most well-known for his work as one of few sketch artists in suburban law enforcement. Gough, 54, is retiring April 4 after 30 years on the job. “The sketch artist can become a master at getting (victims and witnesses) to relax, talking more than (just about) the face, talking about the scene, and what they saw,”...

    Jill Alfrejd

    Grayslake District 46 looking at politically connected publicity firm

    Grayslake Elementary District 46 officials are considering whether to hire a politically connected public relations firm to guide communication efforts there. “It’s not just getting our good news out there,” board member Jill Alfrejd said. “We need to be seen as the experts on District 46 education. There are steps to do that.”


    Northwest suburban police blotter

    A 92-year-old Mount Prospect man was scammed out of $1,900 March 14 after he received a phone call from someone claiming to be his grandson. The caller told him he was in an accident in Mexico and needed the money or he would be arrested because a police officer found drugs in the car. The victim was instructed to send money to someone in Haiti. The man sent the money and then had second...


    Other tax proposals

    Who backs which tax proposals?

    William Gilmer

    New Des Plaines community concert band director named

    Local music educator William Gilmer has been named the new conductor of the Des Plaines Park District Community Concert Band, officials announced Wednesday. Gilmer retired as band director from Willowbrook High School, where he spent 28 years. He was selected after a three-month search and audition process.


    Schaumburg approves Fiat, Maserati dealership

    Schaumburg trustees this week approved a long awaited expansion of the Zeigler Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership at 208 W. Golf Road to include a Fiat and Maserati dealership as well. “A new car dealership is always good news,” Community Development Director Julie Fitzgerald said. “This is particularly exciting because it’s a new dealership we don’t have right...



    Baseball: Thursday’s results
    *Thursday’s results*At Rent One Ball ParkJacobs 15, Rantoul 4 (5 Inn.)Jacobs 001 77 -15-15-0Rantoul 201 10 -4-8-02B: J — Coletti; R — Flessner. 3B: R — Tatar.WP: Tenayuca; LP: Vermillion.*Palatine 4, Jacobs 3 (8 INN.) Jacobs 110 100 00 -3-11-0Palatine 200 010 01 -4-8-02B: J — Jemmi, Coletti; P — Gavin, Serna, Bohaman. 3B: J — Kozlak. WP: Gavin; LP: Jones.*At Lentz Field, Jacksonville, IL Barrington 6, Dundee-Crown 4Dundee-Crown 000 301 0 -4-10-4Barrington 023 100 0 -6-8-02B: D-C — Alvarado, Lewan, Johnson, Waldron; B — Lombanoi. HR: D-C — Lewan. WP: Delaurentis; LP: Ludwig.*Glenbrook South 17, Dundee-Crown 2 (6 INN.) Glenbrook South 344 060 0 -16-18-1Dundee-Crown 020 00x -2-5-12B: GBS — Pauly 2, Carroll; D-C — Lewan.3B: GBS — Tursi, Carroll. WP: Lenckos; LP: Denz.*Brother Rice 2, Huntley 0Huntley 000 000 0 -0-3-0Brother Rice 000 000 0 -2-4-02B: H — Sullivan, Nugent. HR: BR — Biondic. WP: Kutt; LP: Costantino (0-1).*At ESPN Sports Complex, Orlando, Fla.GRAYSLAKE N. 12, LOYOLA BLAKEFIELD 2Grayslake North 504 000 3 —12-11-0Loyola Blakfield 200 000 0 —2-7-42B: GN: Alvarez 2, Petrillo. WP: Zalewski; S: Petrillo.*At Rent One ParkMUNDELEIN 4, LOCKPORT 1Mundelein 100 102 0 —4Lockport 000 001 0 —13B: Peterson.WP: Metz; S: Farmer.*vernon hills 4, carterville 33B: VH: Crowley.WP: Earhart; S: Newman.*At Rent One Ball ParkJacobs 15, Rantoul 4 (5 innings)Mundelein 4, Lockport 1*In North Carolinast. viator 5, Peters Twp. (Pa) 0St. Viator 000 140 0 —5-8-1Peters Twp. 000 000 0 —0-4-0WP: McElroy; LP: Black.*At ESPN Sports Complex, Orlando, Fla.Loyola-Blakefield (MD) 4, Wheeling 3L-Blakefield 100 021 0 —4-5-3Wheeling 200 100 0 —3-7-4WP: O’Brien; LP: Kim.*Wednesday’s resultAt Troy, Ill.TRIAD 4, LAKES 3Lakes 002 001 0 —3-4-3Triad 101 020 X —4-4-32B: Lks: Dahlke.HR: Lks: Sisk.


    Softball: Thursday’s results
    *Thursday’s results*IC Catholic Prep 13, Timothy Christian 1Timothy Christ. 0 0 0 0 1 —1-2-3IC Catholic Prep 12 0 0 1 X —13-7-32B: TC: Biscon. IC: Farmer, Curran, Borges. WP: Conenna (3-0) LP: Gifford.*At The Dome, RosemontLAKES 7, STEVENSON 5Lakes 202 101 1 —7-5-0Stevenson 010 013 0 —5-9-12B: Lks: Hohenstatt; Stev: Morgan.3B: Lks: Horner; Stev: Pflugradt, Oriatti.WP: Dishinger; LP: Mankus.*LAKES 12, WOODSTOCK NORTH 1 (5 INN.)Lakes 040 71 —12-12-1Woodstock North 100 00 —1-2-82B: Lks: C. Mang.3B: Lks: Dishinger, Horner, Hohenstatt, Reed, Rotunno.WP: Perdue; LP: Butler.*Hoffman Estates 11, Elgin 0 (6 inn.)Hoffman Estates 701 003 —11-8-0Elgin 000 000 —0-2-62B: HE: Acosta; 3B: HE: Connelly; Elg: Eckholm. WP: Osimowicz; LP: Rago.*Hampshire 15, Elgin 4 (5 Inn.)Hampshire 331 26 -15-14-2Elgin 211 00 -4-2-42B: H — DeChant 2; E — Stockman3B: H — Finn; E — EckholmWP: Widmayer; LP: Lombardo.*In FloridaSt. Viator 7, IOLA 4Iola 101 010 1 —4-6-1St. Viator 400 030 x —7-8-32B: StV: T.Kaiser. WP: Hogan.*


    Girls soccer: Friday’s results
    *Friday’s results*Fenton 4, Curie 1Scoring — F: Guarino (3), Mendoza (1). Goalkeepers — *Benet 4, Glenbard West 0Benet 3 1 —4Glenbard West 0 0 —0Scoring — B: Kaufman (Morefield); Baumann (Morefield); Gesior; Baumann (Morefield). Goalkeepers — B: Stopka. *South Elgin Invite At Millenium FieldSouth Elgin 3, West Chicago 0West Chicago 0 0 —0South Elgin 2 1 —3Scoring — SE — Tracy (Uveges), M. Greco (Uveges), Jaramillo (Uveges). Goalkeepers — WC — Navejas (7 saves); SE — Vaulkner (3 saves), DeLaMora (3 saves). *Bartlett 2, Streamwood 1Bartlett 1 1 —2Streamwood 0 1 —1Scoring — B — Sablik (UA), Videckis (Dombrowski); S — Carroll (UA). Goalkeepers — B — Lozada (8 saves); S — Guindon. *Hononegah 6, Jacobs 1Hononegah 5 1 —6Jacobs 1 0 —1Scoring — J —Pasetes (UA). Goalkeepers — J — Robinson (12 saves).


    Girls water polo: Thursday’s results
    *Thursday’s results*Naperville North 19, Waubonsie Valley 9Naperville North 6 5 2 1 —14Waubonsie Vall. 0 0 1 2 —3Scoring — NN: Holzer 3, Wei 3, DiMatteo 2, Eiken 2, Stoner, Horn, Hartley, Kolenda. WV: S. Anderson 3. Goalkeepers — NN: MacDuff, Kinder. WV: Conway *St. Charles North 17, St. Charles East 11St. Charles N. 2 5 5 5 —17St. Charles E. 3 3 2 3 —11St. Charles North goals: Guyett 5, Quinn 4, Steele 3, Difiglio 3, Veto 2St. Charles East goals: Kos 9, Zbinden, JohnsenKeepers: SCN: Foor (3 saves); SCE: Fagen: (13 saves)


    Boys volleyball: Thursday’s results
    *Thursday’s results*Glenbard West d. Whitney Young 25-12, 25-13Glenbard West — Garwood (6 assists, 1 ace, 3 digs); Bischoff (6 assists, 2 digs); Blane (4 kills, 1 block, 1 dig); Kotsakis (4 kills, 1 block); Scruggs (3 kills, 4 blocks); Smith (2 kills, 2 digs, 2 blocks, 1 ace); Nagle (2 kills, 1 block); Myers (1 kill, 2 blocks); Church (2 blocks); Roberts (13 digs); Condon (4 digs); Dedmond (2 digs). Whitney Young — Meitka (3 kills); Lau (2 kills, 2 blocks); Patton (9 assists). *Downers Grove North d. Metea Valley 25-23, 25-23Downers North — Sarver (8 kills); Baarstad (18 assists).Metea Valley — Miller (20 assists); Luckinbill (13 kills); Marzuki (13 digs).*Addison trail d. St. Patrick 25-20, 25-23Addison Trail — Dickmann (9 kills); Chiaramonte (5 kills); Parisi (3 aces, 5 digs).


    Girls badminton: Thursday’s scoreboard
    Thursday’s results*Glenbard South 15, Wheaton North 0Singles — No. 1: Norgaard (GS) d. Nair (WN) 21-13, 21-7; No. 2: Bedoy (GS) d. King (WN) 21-12, 21-18; No. 3: Ketiger (GS) d. Hacker (WN) 22-20, 21-14; No. 4: Lipa (GS) d. Bichler (WN) 21-19, 21-12; No. 5: Schloefko (GS) d. Li (WN) 21-15, 21-11; No. 6: Schmidt (GS) d. Benson (WN) 21-14, 21-10; No. 7: Jacobson (GS) d. Burshton (WN) 21-6, 21-16; No. 8:Rasmussen (GS) d. VanOss (GS) 22-20, 21-17 ; No. 9: Burtis (GS) d. Carlson (WN) 21-4, 21-15; No. 10: Opem (GS) d. Rietveld (WN) 21-10, 21-8.Doubles — No. 1: Bedoy/Lipa (GS) d. Garcia/Li (WN) 21-9, 21-7; No. 2: Norgaard/Ketiger (GS) d. VanOss/King (WN) 21-7, 21-11; No. 3: Schloefko/Schmidt (GS) d. Hacker/Nair 21-18, 8-21, 21-19; No. 4: Jacobson/Curtis (GS) d. Bichler/Benson (WN) 20-22, 21-17, 21-14; No. 5: Gibson/Opem (GS) d. Gibson/Carlson (WN) 21-13, 21-16.


    Boys water polo scoreboard: Thursday’s results
    *Thursday’s results*Naperville North 19, Waubonsie Valley 9Waubonsie Vall. 2 2 2 3 —9Naperville North 5 2 7 5 —19Scoring — WV: Krug 4, Morris 2, Anderssen, Steele, Kroening. NN: McClure 5, Roberts 5, Duin 3, Nash 2, Rocco, Tomashek, Holzer, Chapman. Goalkeepers — WV: Buzelis (6). NN: Maicke (5), Roche (1).*St. Charles North 15, St. Charles East 2St. Charles E. 0 1 1 0 —2St. Charles N. 4 5 3 3 —15SCORING: SCE - Van Gyseghem, Rogman; SCN - Traxler 5, Pretet 4, Davis 3, N. Bawolek 2, Stanek.GOALIES: SCE - Roach 14 saves; SCN - C. Bawolek 6 saves.

    Tuukka Rask drops to the ice to make a save against the Blackhawks on Thursday night. The Bruins’ goalie finished with 28 of them for his seventh shutout of the season

    If only for a night, Bruins turn tables on Blackhawks

    The last time the Blackhawks hit the ice at TD Garden in Boston, they scored a pair of third period goals 17 seconds apart in Game 6 and, well … you know the rest. On Thursday, the Bruins got a bit of revenge on their home ice, thanks to a pair of third period goals just 13 seconds apart that sealed the deal in a 3-0 victory for the red-hot Bruins.

    Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw (65) is knocked to the ice by Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski (43) as they chase the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 27, 2014, in Boston.

    Blackhawks stumble in Boston

    Patrice Bergeron scored two goals, and the Bruins beat the Blackhawks 3-0 on Thursday night in the first meeting between the teams in Boston since the deciding game of the Stanley Cup finals. News: Bergeron scored his first goal at 11:50 of the first period, and the Bruins broke the game open with goals by Carl Soderberg and Bergeron in a 13-second span early in the third.


    Jakuszewski, Wheaton Warrenville South strike first

    A.J. Jakuszewski struck and then it was lightning’s turn. The stubborn spring weather was once again involved on Thursday night as heavy rains and lightning shortened the Wheaton Warrenville South at St. Francis nonconference girls soccer match, but not before Jakuszewski netted the game-winner. Just minutes into the second half, Jakuszewski sent a pass to sophomore Anna Fank who returned the favor with a beautifully played pass to set up the game-winner in a 1-0 victory.


    Grayslake North swings into action

    Alex Alvarez and Merrick Gentile led an 11-hit attack with 3 hits apiece, as Grayslake North’s baseball team defeated Loyola Blakefield (Md.) 12-2 at The ESPN Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., Thursday.


    Split decision for Grayslake North

    SoftballGrayslake North splits: At the ESPN Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, Kayla Switalla and Jessica Vaughn both went 5-for-5 with 2 RBI for the Knights in a 14-4 win over Neenah.Vaughn doubled twice, while Switalla also had a double and scored 3 runs. Nikki Livengood homered and doubled for Grayslake North. The Knights pounded out 25 hits, with Livengood, Sarah Littleton, Danielle Runyon and Mariah Gentile adding 3 apiece. Littleton and Maddie Terlap had doubles, as well. Kaitlyn Olsen, Gentile and Runyon each stole two bases.Littleton pitched a five-inning complete game for the win.Grayslake North also lost to Fenwick 10-1, as it managed only 2 hits, including a double by Terlap.Vernon Hills loses twice: In Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, the Cougars dropped their first two games of the season, 10-0 to Franklin County and 11-7 to Henry County.Dana Meline had Vernon Hills’ only 2 hits against Franklin County, as she went 2-for-3.Against Henry County, Sami Saliba homered and drove in 3 runs for the Cougars, and Anna Cirone went 3-for-4 with 2 runs scored and an RBI. Meline coaxed 3 walks and scored twice.


    Thankful Glenbard West rolls over Whitney Young

    The Glenbard West boys volleyball team continued an annual tradition Wednesday of playing host to Whitney Young for its home opener and treating the Dolphins to a postgame dinner in the field house. “(It’s occurred) as long as I’ve been here. It’s really nice,” senior tri-captain Andrew Roberts said. “It’s kind of a dinner to thank them.” On the court the Hilltoppers showed a hunger that should mean good things for the 2014 season. Strong blocking and defense complemented a solid offensive night for a 25-12, 25-13 victory in Glen Ellyn.

    Dayton guard Jordan Sibert (24) celebrates a three-point shot against Stanford during the second half in a regional semifinal game at the NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 27, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. Dayton won 82-72.

    No. 11 Dayton earns trip to the Elite 8

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Like a red and blue blur, the Dayton Flyers were pressing and passing, shooting and scoring. The waves never seemed to stop coming, with 10, 11 and then 12 players giving them quality minutes.An exhausted and foul-plagued Stanford simply couldn’t keep up.The underdog Flyers an 11 seed in this South Region are now in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1984 after an emphatic 82-72 victory over Stanford on Thursday night.“We had 11 guys score in the game and from top to bottom, we kept coming and coming,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “The way they shared the ball and moved the ball ... it was a true team effort. It’s nice that on the biggest stage, we acted like ourselves.”Jordan Sibert scored 18 points and freshman Kendall Pollard added a season-high 12, as Dayton (26-10) made sure this one wasn’t particularly close after slipping by in the first two rounds. The 6-foot-4 Sibert was spectacular, slashing to the basket and draining 3-pointers, to help the Flyers lead for almost the entire night.Dayton showed its depth early, using a dozen players in the first half to wear down Stanford.“They were relentless,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “That’s the best way I can put it.”No. 10 Stanford (23-13) had the superior post play, but it wasn’t enough. Chasson Randle led the Cardinal with 21 points, but shot 5 of 21 from the field. Dwight Powell added 17 and Stefan Nastic who fouled out with more than five minutes left had 15.Dayton, the last remaining of the six Atlantic 10 teams in the field of 68, plays the winner of UCLA-Florida on Saturday for a trip to the Final Four.Sibert finished 7 of 12 from the field, including 4 of 9 from 3-point range. He had plenty of help, including from Pollard, a 6-foot-6 guard who continually got to the basket and helped the Flyers stretch their lead in the first half.“People have been doubting us and not giving us a lot of credit,” Sibert said. “I know these guys. I know what coach wants. We all want to win. At the end of the day we all want to be considered winners.”Pollard was averaging two points per game, but Miller didn’t hesitate to give him big minutes once he got hot.“This guy’s a big-time winner,” Miller said. “He’s not afraid of anything.”Devin Oliver scored 12 points and Matt Kavanaugh added 10. Dayton’s bench had a 34-2 scoring advantage over Stanford.The Flyers were good in just about every facet, shooting 48.3 percent (28 of 58) and dishing 19 assists on 28 field goals. They made just about everything they threw at the basket early. Scoochie Smith’s corner 3-pointer put the Flyers ahead 15-13 early and Stanford’s Powell who averages nearly 14 points per game was quickly banished to the bench with two fouls.Foul trouble was an early theme, and a much bigger problem for Stanford.The Cardinal rely on a six-man rotation. When the Flyers would lose a man to foul trouble, they simply replaced him with someone who was just as capable.Things went from bad to worse for Stanford late in the first half. The Cardinal fell behind by double-digits and Dawkins was called for a technical foul. Dawkins said it was the right call.“I was just more or less trying to get my team going,” Dawkins said. “I thought we were losing momentum, we had already burned a timeout and it was a situation where I wanted to get our guys fired up.”It didn’t work.Sibert nailed a 3-pointer from the corner to give Dayton a 42-29 lead, though the Flyers had to settle for a 42-32 halftime advantage.Stanford made a comeback early in the second half as famous Cardinal supporters Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice looked on thanks to strong post play.


    Naperville North maintains momentum

    Thursday night’s 19-9 win by the Naperville North boys water polo team over visiting Waubonsie Valley occurred at an annual key point in the schedule.

    St. Charles East’s Alexandra Kos shoots and scores the Saints second goal against St. Charles North during water polo action at St. Charles East Thursday.

    St. Charles North overcomes Kox’ huge night

    The St. Charles North girls water polo team needed every weapon in its arsenal to counter Alexandra Kos. The St. Charles East junior scored early, often and frequently with her 9 total scores Thursday afternoon at the Saints’ home pool in St. Charles. But St. Charles North seized command in the third quarter, scoring 5 unanswered goals in a three-minute and 24-second sequence. Five different players for St. Charles North scored at least twice in the North Stars’ 17-11 victory.

    Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky (44) shoots over Baylor center Isaiah Austin (21) during an NCAA men’s college basketball tournament regional semifinal, Thursday, March 27, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif.

    Wisconsin routs Baylor 69-52

    ANAHEIM, Calif. — Frank Kaminsky scored 19 points and blocked six shots, and Wisconsin romped into the West Regional final with a dominant 69-52 victory over Baylor on Thursday night.Ben Brust hit three 3-pointers and scored 14 points for the second-seeded Badgers (29-7), who jumped to a 14-point lead in the first half and never let up on the overmatched Bears (26-12).The 7-foot Kaminsky and his disciplined teammates shredded the Baylor zone defense that played so well in the first two games. Wisconsin also methodically shut down Baylor’s talented offense while moving into its second regional final in 13 years under Bo Ryan, who has never reached a Final Four in a 700-win coaching career.Cory Jefferson scored 15 points for the sixth-seeded Bears, who did little with their third Sweet 16 trip in five years.

    Lakes center fielder Kate Hohenstatt makes a catch to rob Stevenson of a hit during Thursday’s game at The Dome in Rosemont.

    Hohenstatt’s a hit for Lakes

    The only thing more perfect than Kate Hohenstatt’s jersey-number choice was her execution on the softball field. Lakes’ leadoff hitter went 3-for-3 with a walk and double and scored 3 runs in helping the Eagles hold off Stevenson 7-5 at The Dome in Rosemont on Thursday. The lefty-throwing outfielder sparkled defensively, too, making a rolling catch on a shallow flyball in the fifth inning and ending the game by throwing out a runner at third base.


    Naperville North takes break with perfect record

    Naperville North senior Dani DiMatteo knows this year’s Huskies water polo team is mighty talented and she is hoping for a special season. While a winless Waubonsie Valley team may not be a great barometer, Naperville North did look sharp again Thursday night in a 14-3 triumph that sends the Huskies into spring break with a perfect 10-0 mark.

    The Los Angeles Angels’ Ian Stewart (44) makes the catch as the Chicago Cubs’ Mike Olt advances safely to third base on a hit by teammate Darwin Barney during the second inning of a spring training game Tuesday in Mesa, Ariz.

    Olt, Kalish make the cut for Cubs

    The Cubs finalized the position-player part of their roster Thursday, with third baseman Mike Olt and outfielder Ryan Kalish making the team. The Cubs have balance with their hitting as they have six right-handed batters, six left-handed hitters and one switch hitter.

    Kain Colter, a former quarterback for Northwestern University, sits during an interview with The Associated Press in Bradenton, Fla., Thursday, March 27, 2014. A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board decided in favor of the Northwestern players to unionize following a decision on Wednesday, March 26.

    Colter: ‘We know what we’re doing’ with union idea

    BRADENTON, Fla. — Kain Colter is not completely sure what the landscape will one day look like if college athletes are allowed to unionize. He’s just more convinced than ever that it’s become necessary.The former Northwestern quarterback, now essentially the face of the movement that could completely reshape college sports, said Thursday that a federal agency’s decision to allow the Wildcats to form a union was an expected victory — but also represents just the first step in what he knows will be a lengthy process.“There’s so many different components,” Colter said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But what this does ... it ensures that players have a voice and whatever route this goes and whatever structure comes from college sports, we have input. We’re out there sacrificing so much. We’re a big part of what college sports is today and the revenue that’s generated off of it. We deserve to have a say in that. We deserve a seat at the table.”A two-page online letter that he wrote might have made it all happen.Colter, 21, wasn’t the first to question why athletes feel like their rights in college are limited, but it was an online rant that he sent to the National College Players Association that started the roll of this now-enormous snowball. From that note, an idea was born, and the notion got legitimized Wednesday when a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board said Northwestern’s players should be allowed to unionize.The university will appeal. Colter isn’t worried.“You saw how strong of a ruling it was and that we won every single claim,” Colter said. “It’s going to be something that’s really hard to overturn.”At the root of Colter’s argument for change is that he believes college athletes lack basic protections, such as the guarantee of medical coverage and the promise of a four-year scholarship at most institutions. It’s common for scholarships to be renewed annually, and athletes have long felt that they could be vulnerable in situations like a change in coaches or philosophy.He stresses, though, that he enjoyed his time at Northwestern. He raves about Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald, calling him the best in college football. His experience was not a bad one, but Colter still can’t understand why his attempts to talk to the NCAA about possible changes were repeatedly turned down.“You can have the best employer in the world and you still deserve basic protections and basic rights,” Colter said. “That’s what this is all about. ... It wasn’t a complaint. It wasn’t us filing this out of abuse or mistreatment or anything like that. This is what it is.”For that, he actually thanks Northwestern.“With any big change there’s going to be people who are unsure and it’s too much, we’re not going to be able to do this, we’re not going to be able to do that,” Colter said. “But at Northwestern, especially at Northwestern, I’ve been taught to think outside the box, be a great thinker, free thinker, be a leader, make change. That’s just what we’re doing. That’s what Northwestern prepared us to do, to tackle this challenge.”It would be very simple for the 6-foot, 190-pound Colter to just worry about himself right now.


    St. Charles North dominates on both ends

    St. Charles North’s boys water polo team spends a great deal of time working on its defense. “The first few weeks of practice, it was just defense,” said senior Nick Traxler. “We didn’t even shoot at the net.” Lately, however, the North Stars have devoted a little more time on the offensive end. The results have been plentiful.

    Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel passes the ball during a drill at pro day for NFL football representatives in College Station, Texas, Thursday.

    Johnny Manziel wows elder Bush, others at pro day

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Johnny Manziel’s NFL pro day had a former president, lots of swag, a Drake soundtrack and even some football, too.The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner threw for 75 officials from 30 teams on the Texas A&M campus Thursday.He also had some special guests, as former President George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara — and her two dogs — rolled into the facility on golf carts about 10 minutes into the workout.The always flashy Manziel was true to his over-the-top Johnny Football persona, trotting into the facility with his receivers as a tune by his buddy Drake blasted through the building. He wore camouflage shorts, a black Nike jersey with his white No. 2 and caused a stir by wearing shoulder pads and a helmet. Manziel didn’t understand why it was a big deal.“You play the game in shoulder pads on Sundays,” he said. “Why not come out and do it? ... For me it was a no-brainer.”Manziel threw about 65 passes to six receivers, including A&M teammate Mike Evans, who like Manziel is expected to be a first round pick in the May draft. Only two passes weren’t caught and Evans grabbed a third long pass out of bounds. “I felt like it was good,” Manziel said. “(I) was obviously going for perfection. So had a couple balls hit the ground. One was on me. One was a little bit high. I could’ve got it down for him a little bit.”Quarterback guru George Whitfield ran the workout. Manziel has worked with Whitfield throughout his career and has spent a big chunk of the last 2½ months working with him in California. Whitfield raved about his competitiveness.“This wasn’t just merely a set of routes that he was just going to go through and throw,” Whitfield said. “It just feels like ... life is riding on every pass with him.” Eight NFL general managers and eight head coaches were among the group, including Texans general manager Rick Smith and coach Bill O’Brien. Houston has the top overall pick in the draft. Smith and O’Brien liked what they saw from Manziel, but both cautioned that this is just one step in a long process.“He made the throws that you look for and that you wanted to see so it was good,” Smith said. “It’s just a part of it and it was impressive.”Manziel, who started at A&M for two seasons, planned to meet with several teams on Thursday afternoon after the workout. Several coaches were impressed that Manziel called all the NFL officials onto the field at the end of his workout to personally thank them for coming.“College Station’s a little bit of a tricky spot to get to,” he said. “For me to call those guys up, just wanted to speak on my behalf as well as the six guys behind me and thank them for coming out.”Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith, who grew up in Big Sandy, Texas, enjoyed seeing Bush at the event.“That’s a first, a workout with an ex-president,” Smith said. “But they do things a little differently in Texas, which is a good thing, me being a Texan.” Bush sat in his golf cart during the event and posed for pictures with dozens of people afterward. But Secret Service agents shooed away reporters looking to talk to the 41st president. Manziel said he didn’t notice when Bush came in.“No,” he said. “I was trying to go 65 for 65.”Several more Drake songs played after his introductory one and he looked loose during the workout, at times bobbing his head, covered in the matte black helmet, to the beats. There was a brief hitch in the playlist, though. When he began the workout the explicit and expletive-laden versions of the songs were played. When the 89-year-old Bush entered the building, the soundtrack quickly switched to an edited version of the same songs.


    Baseball/Fox Valley roundup

    Jacobs 15, Rantoul 4: With 7 runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, the Golden Eagles were able to cruise to an easy victory in their first game of the day at Rent One Ball Park in downstate Marion on Thursday morning. Led by Grant Kale (4-for-4, 4 RBI, 2 triples, 2 RS) and Kyle Wolinski (2 RBI, 2 RS), the Golden Eagles overcame an early 3-1 deficit going into the top of the fourth. Despite giving up 6 hits and 4 runs, Dainel Tenayuca was able to pick up the win.Palatine 4, Jacobs 3 (8 inn.): The second game was not as kind to Jacobs (4-2) as it was unable to hang onto the lead late. Although the Golden Eagles were able to outhit Palatine 11-8 the runners could not cross the plate. Ryan Dubs pitched well enough to win, going 7 innings with 3 earned runs and 3 strikeouts, but settled with a no decision as Tyler Jones came in for relief and surrendered the winning run. Matt Kozlak (3-for-4, 3B) and Jake Jemmi (2B, 2 RBI) paced the offense. Barrington 6, Dundee-Crown 4: The Chargers could not complete the comeback Thursday morning in their first game of the day at Lentz Field in downstate Jacksonville. Tyler Lewan (2-for-4, 3 RBI, 2 RS, HR, 2B) was the biggest offensive spark on an otherwise muted day that saw the Chargers outhit Barrington but also commit 4 errors. All 5 runs that Ahren Ludwig gave up in the 2 ⅔ innings he pitched were unearned but it was still enough to saddle him with the loss.Glenbrook South 17, Dundee-Crown 2: The second game of the day for the Chargers (1-3) offered little solace as they quickly found themselves down 11-2 by the middle of the third inning. Nick Munson and Fabian Gutierrez drove in the only runs amid a poor offensive showing. Danny Denz pitched 1 inning and gave up 5 runs on 6 hits to pick up the loss. Brother Rice 2: Huntley 0: Red Raiders (1-1) hurler Nick Constantino struck out 7 on 49 strikes and was charged with just 1 earned run on 2 hits in 5 innings of action but the offense managed only 3 hits in a nonconference loss at Plunkett Park. Matt Sullivan (2-for-2) and Jon Nugent each doubled for Huntley.


    McElroy in fine form for St. Viator

    Jack McElroy tossed 6 scoreless innings to help St. Viator’s baseball team blank Peters Township (Pa.) 5-0 on Thursday at the Ripken Experience in North Carolina.

    Backup catcher John Baker has seen plenty of ups and downs during his baseball career, but he was flying high Thursday when he learned he earned a spot on the Cubs’ opening-day roster.

    Cubs’ Baker gets big-time validation with roster spot

    Every spring training has a feel-good story or two. This year for the Cubs, it is catcher John Baker, who made the team as the backup after spending most of last year in the minor leagues in the Padres organization.

    Mike Magee of the Chicago Fire

    Fire’s Magee deals with good news and bad

    It’s been an up and down week for Chicago Fire forward/midfielder Mike Magee. Magee saw his first action of the season in Sunday's 1-1home-opening draw against the New York Red Bulls. On Wednesday it was announced he will not be on the U.S. national team’s World Cup roster for the warmup match against Mexico on Wednesday.


    Boys tennis / Scouting Lake County

    Here's a look at the boys tennis season ahead, from the perspective of programs in Lake County.


    South Elgin blanks West Chicago to win title

    Most teams start every season with a list of goals. At the top of that list was for the South Elgin girls soccer team was to win its own tournament. The Storm accomplished that feat Thursday by beating West Chicago, 3-0, in the championship game at Millennium Field.


    Kaisers connect as St. Viator wins

    The Kaiser sisters were quite a tandem for St. Viator’s softball team on the Lions final day in Orlando Fla. Senior Tess Kaiser belted a 2-run double in the Lions 4-run first inning and freshman Grace Kaiser collected a 2-run 2-out single in a 3-run fifth inning as the Lions topped Iola, Wis., 7-4 at the ESPN Sports Complex.


    Acosta, Hoffman Estates celebrate with a big day at the plate

    Sam Acosta started of her 18th birthday celebration in style on Thursday morning. Playing in an 8 a.m. softball game against Elgin, the Hoffman Estates senior began her day by going 3-for-4 with 4 RBI to help lead her Hawks softball team to an 11-0 six-inning victory at The Dome at The Ballpark at Rosemont. The fine-fielding senior shortstop also had a putout and assist as the Hawks evened their record at 1-1.

    Oklahoma’s Jordan Woodard (10) drives against North Dakota State’s Kory Brown (22), an Elgin High graduate, in the second half of a second-round game of the NCAA Tournament in Spokane, Wash., last week.

    Elgin grad Brown got to live the dream, wants to again

    Reality is sometimes better than the dream. That was the happy case last weekend for North Dakota State sophomore guard Kory Brown, who two years ago this month was still an uncommitted Elgin High School senior yearning to find a Division-I roster spot, let alone fulfill his childhood dream of competing in the NCAA Tournament.


    Widmayer, Hampshire stymie Elgin

    As the rain, and thankfully not snow, fell early in the morning outside, some teams were getting their first shot at playing together on a field in The Dome at The Ballpark in Rosemont. Such was the case for the Elgin softball team which, before its games Thursday morning, had only been able to practice a handful of times. And it showed as Hampshire was able to score a victory in just five innings, 15-4, over the short-handed Maroons.

    Maria Sharapova, of Russia, left, congratulates Serena Williams at the Sony Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla., Thursday.

    Williams beats Sharapova for 15th straight time

    KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — Between points, Serena Williams stood motionless behind the baseline with her back to the net, as if trying to match — or mimic — the methodical ritual of her opponent, Maria Sharapova.They took turns waiting on each other, the pace of play plodding, but there was no delaying the inevitable. Williams beat Sharapova for the 15th consecutive time Thursday, rallying in both sets to win 6-4, 6-3 in the Sony Open semifinals.“I have always felt when I’m playing at my best, then it’s hard for people to beat me,” Williams said. Seeking a record seventh Key Biscayne title, Williams improved to 16-2 against her favorite foil. Sharapova hasn’t beaten Williams since 2004.“Despite my results against her, I still look forward to playing against her because you learn so much from that type of level which she produces,” Sharapova said. “You finish the match, and you know where you need to improve and the things that you need to work on.”No. 7-seeded Tomas Berdych advanced to Friday’s semifinals, beating No. 22 Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 7-6 (3). Berdych was the Key Biscayne runner-up in 2010.The No. 1-ranked Williams won with a superior serve and better returns. She hit nine aces and broke five times, which helped her rebound from deficits of 4-1 in the first set and 2-0 in the second.“I wasn’t playing my best,” Williams said. “I knew if I wanted to stay in the tournament and make another final, I just had to play better.”She did, earning her 14th consecutive victory against a top-10 player. Her opponent in Saturday’s final will be the winner of the semifinal Thursday night between reigning Australian Open champion Li Na and Dominika Cibulkova.Williams said she wouldn’t scout the match.“I never really watch,” she said. “I get too nervous.”Williams first won Key Biscayne in 2002 and is the defending champion. A minority owner in the Miami Dolphins, she has worn the team’s orange and turquoise throughout the tournament she considers her home event because she lives 90 minutes up Interstate 95.“When I grew up I always wanted to play here,” she said. “I guess I just don’t want to let go. It’s my favorite stop on the tour. It’s home. All my friends come. So it’s perfect for me.”There was no evidence of a home-court advantage at the start, when Williams failed to convert four early break-point chances and fell behind. Sharapova cracked a succession of winners from the baseline and earned applause from Williams after besting her in one exchange.While Sharapova is notorious for her deliberate routine between points, Williams doesn’t usually play so slowly.“I just made some errors, and when that happened, I was just trying to regroup and get my mind back together and just try to get back focused and just try to get things going again,” she said. “It just helps me to be able to relax. Sometimes I do get a little uptight.” The approach worked. Williams broke back when Sharapova committed three consecutive backhand errors, and gained momentum from there, sweeping the final five games of the first set.The story was similar in the second set, and after falling behind, Williams resorted to her dominating power. She quickly won one game with two aces and two service winners during a stretch when she swept 11 consecutive points.“In key moments she served really well today,” Sharapova said. “Big serves. I got a few of them, but not good enough to get myself back in the point.” Williams’ rhythm and pace improved as the match progressed. She peaked at 122 mph.

    Connecticut’s Stefanie Dolson listens to associate head coach Chris Dailey, right, during the second half of a second-round game of the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament, Tuesday in Storrs, Conn. Connecticut won 91-52.

    UConn women’s dominance starts on defensive end

    STORRS, Conn. — Connecticut’s opponents spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to slow the Huskies’ offense. A bigger challenge may be finding a way to score on the nation’s top-ranked women’s team.UConn (36-0) goes into Saturday’s regional semifinal against BYU (28-6) holding opponents to an average of 47 points a game. The next best defense, Presbyterian, gave up 53.5 this season. The Huskies also are at the top of the list when it comes to shooting defense, with opponents making just 30.4 percent of their shots. “Our philosophy has always been, if we play great defense we’re going to have a chance to win every single game,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “Then we’re going to let our offense dictate how much we’re going to win by. If our offense is lousy that night, we’re not going to win by a lot, but our defense is going to make sure that we have a chance to win every single game that we play.”In his first few seasons, he said, the Huskies were holding teams to 55 points a game, and losing 55-50. This season, they are scoring an average of more than 83 points, and winning games by an average of 36. The nation’s other undefeated team, Notre Dame, ranks second in that category, with an average margin of victory of just over 26 points.“It’s easy, especially when a team is scoring at the clip that they are offensively, to be slow and sloppy and lazy on the defensive side of it,” Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said after losing by 26 to the Huskies in the American Athletic Conference tournament. “I think that Geno does a masterful job of encouraging his players to be as intense on the offensive side as they are on the defensive side or vice versa. But that’s what clearly makes a great team.”Auriemma jokes that he has a way of making sure players give maximum effort. If a player isn’t committed to defense, he has several other former high-school All Americans on the bench who are ready to take their minutes.But he also believes his team’s defensive numbers have been inflated a bit this season because of the lopsided scores. A lot of teams, he said, become unhinged while trying to match UConn basket for basket.“When you’re down 15, there is a lot more pressure on you to make shots,” Auriemma said. “If it’s a three-point game, I don’t think that’s a lot of pressure because if you miss you are only down three. If you are down 15 and you miss, then we go down and now you are down 18. Then you come down and you miss. With each time down that you miss the pressure mounts and it becomes harder to make shots.”And because UConn is so good in transition, opponents often get just one shot each trip down the floor, conceding the rebound to get back on defense. UConn outrebounds opponents by about 10 boards each game. The Huskies also have won the turnover battle (614-428) by stealing the ball 344 times and blocking 293 shots, leading the nation at more than eight blocks a game. “For us, everything starts on the defensive end,” said senior Stefanie Dolson, the AAC’s defensive player of the year. “We take so much pride in that. We try not to give up anything easy.”Dolson (6-foot-5), Breanna Stewart (6-4) and Kiah Stokes (6-3) each averages more than two blocks a game.“They’re a great back line and it’s really hard to penetrate their defense,” said Saint Joseph’s guard Natasha Cloud, whose team lost by 39 points to the Huskies in the second round. “So you’re depending on the outside shot. If they are falling, they’re falling. If they’re not, you’re kind of out of luck.”


    Wood’s arm, Sweeney’s bat lead Cubs over White Sox

    MESA, Ariz. — Travis Wood pitched three scoreless innings, Ryan Sweeney homered and the Chicago Cubs beat the Chicago White Sox 4-3 Thursday.Wood gave up two hits, striking out four with one walk.Sweeney began the day hitting .119 with two RBIs in exhibition play. He homered off Felipe Paulino to start the second inning.Paulino went four innings, allowing three runs and five hits. He will start the second game of the season for the White Sox.Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo hit back-to-back home runs, the first of the spring for both of them, off Wesley Wright in the White Sox ninth.The crowd of 15,170 pushed the spring total to 213,815 at Cubs Park for a single-season Cactus League record. In their first season at the ballpark, the Cubs broke the mark of 203,105 they set at HoHoKam Stadium in 2009.

    With Michael Lovell now Marquette’s president, the university can tend to hiring a basketball coach.

    Marquette AD: Coach search going at ‘good pace’

    MILWAUKEE — Now that Marquette has hired a new president, the university can return to focusing on finding its next basketball coach.Interim athletic director Bill Cords said Thursday that incoming President Michael Lovell will be intricately involved in the hiring of a coach after Buzz Williams left last week for Virginia Tech.Lovell doesn’t officially take office until Aug. 1, though he said at his introductory news conference Wednesday that the basketball hiring topped his agenda.Cords didn’t outline a timetable, but said that the search was “going at a good pace.” He says he’s encouraged by what he calls a good pool of potential candidates.As expected, Cords did not say who was on Marquette’s wish list. “The criteria is we’re going to get the best possible coach we can find,” said Cords, who returned to Marquette last year on an interim basis. He previously served as athletic director from 1987-2007. Cords had said earlier this week that he would stay on in his interim role through next spring to help with the transition He also said he didn’t view Marquette as a “steppingstone” program. Before Williams, Tom Crean left the Golden Eagles for Indiana. “By far, the program is the strongest it has ever been,” said Cords, who has praised Williams for raising the school’s basketball profile. “Our pool is good ... I think we’re going to have an opportunity to find the best possible coach.” VCU’s Shaka Smart, a name that pops up annually on the coaching search rumor mill, could be a possible candidate. VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin said earlier this week that no schools had sought permission to speak to Smart, a native of Madison, Wis.Former UCLA and Pitt coach Ben Howland has also reportedly expressed interest in the position. Howland coached at Pitt from 1999-2003 before taking the UCLA job.The hiring of Lovell adds more certainty at the university for the next coach. His biography describes him as an “ardent sports fan and participant.” Lovell will be leaving his job as chancellor at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which qualified for the NCAA tournament this season before getting knocked out in the first round by Villanova. Lovell is from Meadville in western Pennsylvania, and his resume lists undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering from Pittsburgh. He was an associate professor at Pitt in the early 2000s while Howland was head coach.

    Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter (2), wears APU for “All Players United” on wrist tape as he scores a touchdown during a 2013 NCAA college football game against Maine. While he has led an effort to unionize college athletes, athletes across the world are organized in a variety of ways.

    College athletes amateurs? Only in the U.S.

    The U.S. college sports system, which generates billions of dollars and draws millions of fans and viewers every year, is a rarity across the globe. Other nations are puzzled about the concept of student amateurism, and how college students can compete in front of full stadiums and have their jerseys sold, but don’t receive a salary.

    Barrington softball player Caitlin Inamoto succeeds using the Jim Abbott-style of catching the ball in the mitt, then taking the mitt off and throwing the ball with the same hand.

    Barrington’s new arrivals answer the challenge

    When learning her family was moving from New Jersey to Illinois for her senior year, Caitlin Inamoto headed to the internet. “As soon as she knew our high school (Barrington), she googled it,” said Caitlin’s twin sister Jennifer. “She was all excited, saying ‘Jen, they’ve got a really good softball team, really good. You’ve got to see this.” Starting today at the Rosemont Indoor Dome, area softball fans will see the twins starting at third base (Jennifer) and right field (Caitlin) for the Fillies, who finished third in the 2013 Class 4A state tournament.

    Many empty seats are seen as South Carolina’s Tiffany Mitchell cheers her teammates during the second half of a second-round game against Oregon State in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament in Seattle.

    Attendance at women’s hoops first two rounds drop

    It wasn’t hard to find a good seat during the opening rounds of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. The NCAA expects that to change for the Sweet 16. Fewer people turned out for the opening two rounds of the NCAA women’s tournament as the 16 sites averaged nearly 4,100 fans for the first two rounds, down about 700 from the previous year.


    Girls track / Scouting Lake County

    Here's a look a the girls track season ahead for the teams of Lake County.


    Girls soccer / Scouting Lake County

    Here's a look at the girls soccer season ahead for the teams of Lake County.


    Boys volleyball / Scouting Lake County

    Here's a look at the boys volleyball season ahead, from the perspective of teams in Lake County.


    Boys track / Scouting Lake County

    Here's a look at the boys track season ahead for the teams of Lake County.

    Hampshire’s Elizabeth Pagan competes in the long jump during the Fox Valley Conference girls track meet last season.

    Girls track: Scouting the Fox Valley

    Scouting the 2014 girls track season in the Fox Valley.

    Huntley goalkeeper Jessica Galason leaps to make a save during a game last season.

    Girls soccer: Scouting the Fox Valley

    Scouting the 2014 girls soccer season in the Fox Valley.


    Boys track: Scouting the Fox Valley

    Scouting the 2014 boys track season in the Fox Valley.

    Aurora Central Catholic’s Karina Liz takes first place in the final heat of the 800 meter run finals at the Kane County Invitational track in Geneva meet on Friday, April 26.

    Scouting Tri-Cities area girls track

    Preview of Tri-Cities area girls track and field teams

    Laura Stoecker/lstoecker@dailyherald.com ¬ St. Charles North's Keith Hedges returns a hit from Batavia in the first place, first doubles match with teammate Grant Spellman in the Upstate Eight Conference at Elgin High School on Saturday, May 11.

    Scouting Tri-Cities area boys tennis

    Preview of Tri-Cities area boys tennis

    Adam Fitzgerald, right, is one of a number of sophomores playing a key role at West Aurora.

    Scouting Tri-Cities area boys volleyball

    Preview of Tri-Cities area boys volleyball


    Scouting Tri-Cities area boys track

    Preview of Tri-Cities area girls track and field teams

    Glenbard West’s Madeline Perez wins the 3,200 meter run at the Class 3A girls state track and field finals at O’Brien Stadium at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

    Scouting DuPage County girls track

    Scouting the girls track season in DuPage County.

    St. Francis will count on Greg Churney for some big plays again this season.

    Boys volleyball: Scouting DuPage County

    Scouting the boys volleyball season for DuPage County.

    Daniel White/dwhite@dailyherald.com ¬ Number one singles player Noah Read of Benet Academy, returns a volley during the Naperville North Boys Tennis Invitational.

    Scouting DuPage County boys tennis

    Scouting the boys tennis season for DuPage County.

    Schaumburg’s Julia Morales and West Chicago’s Katie Reitz work for control of the ball during varsity girls soccer in West Chicago.

    Scouting DuPage County girls soccer

    Scouting the girls soccer season for DuPage County.

    JOE LEWNARD/jlewnard@dailyherald.com Naperville Central’s Sam Bransby, right, crosses the finish line as he runs alongside Plainfield East’s Kenny Lewis in the Class 3A 400-meter dash during the boys state track preliminaries.

    Scouting DuPage County boys track

    Scouting the boys track season for DuPage County.


    Once again time to celebrate some college achievers

    What a winter that was. Here are some local collegiates who excelled during it.


    Girls track and field / Scouting Northwest

    Here's a look ahead at the upcoming girls track season from the perspective of Mid-Suburban League competitors along with St. Viator, Maine West and Leyden.


    Girls soccer / Scouting Northwest

    Here's a look ahead at the upcoming girls soccer season from the perspective of Mid-Suburban League competitors along with St. Viator, Maine West and Leyden.


    Boys track / Scouting Northwest

    Here's a look ahead at the upcoming boys track season from the perspective of Mid-Suburban League competitors along with St. Viator, Maine West and Leyden.

    A return of Squirt Gun Night is among the game promotions announced recently by the Schaumburg Boomers. The defending Frontier League champs kick off their 2014 home schedule May 23 with a pennant giveaway and fireworks night.

    Schaumburg Boomers announce 2014 promotions

    Ninety-eight years earlier than promised, the Schaumburg Boomers baseball team will celebrate their Frontier League championship throughout their coming third season at Boomer Stadium with a summer full of fun promotions.


    Mike North video: Three teams to watch out for in Sweet Sixteen
    With another big weekend of NCAA basketball almost upon us, Mike North looks for Tennessee, Stanford and Virginia to move on.

    Bears general manager Phil Emery is as busy fixing the defense this off-season as he was last year fixing the offense.

    Bears GM Emery always looking for answers

    Phil Emery is attempting to contend for a championship while remaking the Bears. He has a lot of answers to a lot of questions but only time will tell whether they're the correct ones. Last year the Bears needed a new offensive line, tight end and offensive playbook? Check, check and check. This year the Bears needed a new defensive line and renewed hope for a pass rush? Check those off, too.

    Two technicians work in a booth during a preview of Major League Baseball's Replay Operations Center, in New York, Wednesday, March 26, 2014. Less than a week before most teams open, MLB is working on the unveiling of its new instant replay system, which it hopes will vastly reduce incorrect calls by umpires. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    MLB’s high-tech replay room opens Sunday

    After deciding close calls on the field since 1876, baseball opens a high-tech control room this weekend where the fates of batters, pitchers, runners and fielders will be decided by umpires up to 2,600 miles away in the building where the Oreo cookie was invested.


    Blackhawks game day
    Blackhawks vs. Boston Bruins at TD Bank Center, 6 p.m. ThursdayTV: Comcast SportsNet / NHLRadio: WGN 720-AMThe skinny: The Blackhawks are heading into Boston at a dangerous time because the Bruins are red-hot. Before a 2-1 shootout loss Monday, Boston had won 12 straight. Couple that with the memory of the last time the Blackhawks came to town, they left with the ultimate hardware … and the Hawks figure to have their hands full on the first of back-to-back road games. Coach Joel Quenneville hinted he might split up the goaltending duties between Corey Crawford and Antti Raanta Thursday and Friday.Next: Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre, 6:30 p.m. Friday— Mike Spellman


    Deerfield-based Baxter International Inc. is splitting itself into two separate businesses — one focusing on biopharmaceuticals and the other on other medical products.

    Baxter splitting into 2 separate businesses

    Following a rival’s lead, Deerfield-based Baxter International Inc. said it’s planning a breakup into two health care companies as it tries to boost innovation and profitability and reward shareholders. Thursday’s news could mark a recent trend as Wall Street banks look for lucrative business and urge giants such as Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson to break up into companies that can grow faster.

    Visitors leave the Mars Chocolate North America Topeka Plant near Topeka, Kan., Thursday for the plant’s grand opening celebration.

    New chocolate plant proof of nation’s sweet tooth

    Americans aren't losing their taste for chocolate. Need proof? Look to Kansas, where candy giant Mars Inc. is operating its first new plant in 35 years to churn out millions of sweets every day.

    U.S. stocks on Thursday fell for the fourth time in five days, led by banks and technology companies, as investors resumed a rotation out of the bull market’s biggest winners.

    Tech companies, Citigroup tug U.S. stocks lower

    It was a bad day to be an investor in Citigroup or tech stocks. U.S. stock indexes edged lower for a second day Thursday as investors continued to retreat from technology stocks. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index closed at its lowest level in six weeks.

    Associated Press Taco Bell’s new advertising campaign will feature real-life people named Ronald McDonald. The one shown here is from Oak Ridge, N.C.

    Taco Bell’s ads star real-life Ronald McDonalds

    Taco Bell is name-dropping an unlikely clown to promote its new breakfast menu — Ronald McDonald. The fast-food chain will begin airing ads Thursday that feature everyday men who happen to have the same name as the McDonald’s mascot known for his bright red hair and yellow jumpsuit. The marketing campaign is intended to promote Taco Bell’s new breakfast menu, which features novelties like a waffle taco.

    Intellipath was rolled out to several courses starting in 2012 by Schaumburg-based Career Education. This April, the company starts rolling out the technology with its MBA online students at American InterContinental University in Schaumburg.

    MBA students to start using intuitive technology for online courses

    Kukec's eBuzz column features Career Education's American InterContinental University that plans to expand its Intellipath technology to its MBA online learning program.


    Microsoft unveils Office for iPad

    Microsoft on Thursday unveiled Office for the iPad, a software suite that includes programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and works on rival Apple Inc.’s hugely popular tablet computer. The app will be available for download on Thursday in the App Store at 11 a.m. Pacific time.

    Since his debut in 1963, the smiling clown has helped give McDonald’s a huge advantage among kids.

    Ronald McDonald: A brief history

    Ronald McDonald was first played by Willard Scott in an ad in the Washington, D.C. market. The character magically pulled hamburgers out of his belt, while wearing a nose made out a McDonald’s cup. His hat was a tray holding a Styrofoam burger, a bag of fries and a milkshake.

    Nida Degesys, National President of the American Medical Student Association, at her office in Sterling, Va. Degesys graduated in May 2013 from Northeast Ohio Medical University with about $180,000 in loans. The amount has already swelled with interest to about $220,000.

    $1 trillion student loan debt widens U.S. wealth gap

    Every month that Gregory Zbylut pays $1,300 toward his law school loans is another month of not qualifying for a decent mortgage. Every payment toward their student loans is $900 Dr. Nida Degesys and her husband aren’t putting in their retirement savings account.

    Passengers exit a Southwest Airlines flight after it mistakenly landed at a small airport in Hollister, Mo., rather than one several miles away in Branson. File)

    NTSB issues safety alert on wrong airport landings
    Associated PressST. LOUIS — A federal agency overseeing transportation safety is warning pilots to take extra precautions after a pair of recent plane landings at the wrong Midwest airports.The National Transportation Safety Board issued the alert Wednesday, about three months after a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 jet with 124 passengers mistakenly landed at a small airport in southwest Missouri intended for light jets and private planes, rather than at the commercial airport several miles away in Branson. The Southwest pilots, who remain on paid leave, landed at night by sight instead of using instruments to guide their approach. No was injured, but passengers smelled burning rubber as the pilots braked hard to stop near the end of the shorter runway, just before a steep drop into a ravine.In November 2013, an Atlas Air cargo plane headed from New York for a U.S. Air Force base near Wichita, Kansas, instead landed 12 miles away at an airstrip with a runway half the size. That wrong landing also took place at night — a particular risk factor cited by the safety alert, as pilots react to the runway lights of the first airport they see during descent.Government safety data and news reports reviewed by The Associated Press shows that at least 150 flights made such mistakes over the past two decades. Thirty-five of those cases involved wrong landings, with the other 115 cases consisting of aborted landing attempts or erroneous approaches. The actual number of wrong landings is likely higher.“It’s a reminder about how important it is to be vigilant about these procedures,” said NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson. “They could have had far worse outcomes.”The safety board has issued 22 aviation safety alerts since 2006 on topics ranging from child passenger safety to handling icy wings before takeoff.“They needed to do something,” said Michael Barr, a former Air Force pilot who teaches aviation safety at the University of Southern California. “It looks like a very diplomatic way for them to put pilots on notice to do the job they were trained for.”In addition to possibly having to land on shorter runways, pilots in such instances risk collisions with construction vehicles or midair collisions with departing planes that don’t expect the airspace intrusion, Barr said.

    SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest mobile carrier, said it will start selling the Galaxy S5 on Thursday, two weeks before the scheduled sales launch on April 11.

    Samsung ‘puzzled’ as smartphone launch upstaged

    The global launch of Samsung’s latest smartphone has been upstaged by South Korean mobile network companies. SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest mobile carrier, said it will start selling the Galaxy S5 on Thursday, two weeks before the scheduled sales launch on April 11.

    Longtime technology analyst Roger Kay wonders whether Mark Zuckerberg “is nuts” for agreeing to pay $2 billion for virtual reality company Oculus less than five weeks after inking a deal to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion.

    Visionary or looney? Zuckerberg on spending spree

    Facebook’s latest multibillion dollar acquisition of virtual reality headset maker Oculus is prompting some people to wonder if CEO Mark Zuckerberg is already living in an alternate reality. Longtime technology analyst Roger Kay wonders whether Zuckerberg “is nuts” for agreeing to pay $2 billion for Oculus less than five weeks after inking a deal to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion.

    The Federal Reserve on Wednesday barred Citigroup from raising its dividend or boosting its stock buybacks, saying it’s too hard to predict how some parts of the bank’s global operation would fare in a sharp economic downturn.

    Fed blocks Citigroup from raising dividends

    The Federal Reserve on Wednesday barred Citigroup from raising its dividend or boosting its stock buybacks, saying it’s too hard to predict how some parts of the bank’s global operation would fare in a sharp economic downturn. It was a setback for Citigroup Inc., one of the nation’s biggest banks, which has been cutting jobs and trimming some businesses in an effort to improve its finances.

    Ground crewmen bow after a Boeing 787 Dreamliner of All Nippon Airways lands after a test flight at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo.

    ANA orders jets worth $17B from Airbus, Boeing

    ANA is ordering 70 aircraft with a list price of $17 billion from Chicgo-based Boeing Co. and Airbus, in the largest order in the Japanese carrier’s history. Thursday’s orders underline ANA’s ambition to become one of the world’s leading airlines as well as Japan’s tourism drive leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Life & Entertainment

    Bassist John McVie and Fleetwood Mac announced a 33-city U.S. tour Thursday. It’s the first set of shows since they canceled performances last year when McVie was treated for cancer.

    Fleetwood Mac, with both McVies, will play Chicago

    The McVies are going back on the road with Fleetwood Mac. On Thursday, the band announced a 33-city North American tour, which includes a stop Oct. 2 at the United Center in Chicago. It’s the first set of shows since they canceled performances last year as bassist John McVie was being treated for cancer. The tour also marks Christine McVie officially rejoining the band since 1998’s “The Dance” tour.

    Designer L’Wren Scott has left her entire estate to longtime boyfriend and Rolling Stones frontman Jagger. Scott committed suicide on March 17 in New York.

    L’Wren Scott leaves entire estate to Mick Jagger

    L’Wren Scott has left her entire estate to longtime boyfriend and Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. The Daily News says papers filed in Manhattan’s Surrogate’s Court on Wednesday estimated the value of the 49-year-old designer’s personal estate at $9 million.

    Actor Columbus Short was arrested Wednesday on a felony battery case filed after he allegedly injured a man in a West Hollywood restaurant during an altercation on March 15.

    ‘Scandal’ actor Columbus Short charged with felony

    Columbus Short, a lead actor on the television series “Scandal,” was arrested Wednesday on a felony charge that he seriously injured a man during an altercation at a restaurant earlier this month. Short was arrested by police in Claremont on a warrant issued in a case that alleges he committed a battery that caused serious bodily harm. The actor was involved in a dispute with a man at a West Los Angeles restaurant March 15 before Short hit the man and knocked him out, according to Los Angeles police and prosecutors. Further details about the altercation were not released.

    TV personality Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, right, from “Jersey Shore,” and her fiance, Jionni LaValle, intend to marry at the Venetian banquet hall in Garfield, N.J., in fall 2014.

    Snooki planning a New Jersey wedding

    Officials in a northern New Jersey town are discussing whether to allow taping of an MTV show featuring Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s wedding. The cast member of the reality series “Jersey Shore” and “Snooki and JWoww” spinoff intends to marry her fiance, Jionni LaValle, at the Venetian banquet hall in Garfield in the fall.

    Visitors to the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon, Fla., can see Atlantic bottlenose dolphins during the center's daily demonstrations. The center also offers hands-on training in the care of marine mammals for would-be professional caregivers and trainers.

    Creatures of the Keys: Fish, deer, 6-toed cats and more

    Activities for visitors to the Florida Keys range from snorkeling, boating and fishing to barhopping in Key West at sunset. But wherever your wanderings through the Keys might take you, chances are you'll encounter some of the islands' many creatures on land, in the sea or flying overhead.

    “Teeth Dreams” is the latest release from The Hold Steady.

    Hold Steady’s latest packs plenty of punch

    “Teeth Dreams,” The Hold Steady’s sixth album, is filled with singer Craig Finn’s characteristically compelling characters, mostly female, as he sings about bad company, simple minds, night moves, life in the fast lane, dancing the night away and Pink Floyd.

    Try the beef loc lac at Simply Khmer, a Cambodian restaurant in Lowell, Mass. The classic Cambodian dish consists of seared beef that has been marinated and cooked in a savory sauce made with garlic, soy sauce, sugar and other ingredients.

    Lowell, Mass., offers up taste of Little Cambodia

    Consider yourself warned: You’re going to need your GPS for this meal in Lowell, Mass. And a short history lesson. But it will be worth it. Start your visit at New Phnom Penh, an Asian grocer that can be a bit of a sensory overload. Then head to the Dessert Shop and Bakery, which seems to sell no desserts or baked goods, but sell Cambodian lunch items and addictive beef jerky made by the owner herself.

    Grinder (Joe Manganiello) and Breacher (Arnold Schwarzenegger) hunt down members of a drug cartel in “Sabotage.”

    ‘Sabotage’ a disturbing, bloody assault on the senses

    Grisly assassinations target a team of elite commandos -- led by Arnold Schwarzenegger, no less -- in "Sabotage," a disturbing, blood-soaked thriller. Throughout, “Sabotage” seems less interested in using violence to make a point than to make entertainment.

    Cesar Chavez (Michael Pena) fights for the rights of farm workers in “Cesar Chavez.”

    Lackluster storytelling dulls ‘Cesar Chavez’ biopic

    You don’t get to be the namesake of countless roads, schools, buildings and even a state holiday unless you’ve led a pretty exceptional life. So why does the biopic “Cesar Chavez” make the folk hero seem like such a dull guy? That misfortune may not rank with the injustices Chavez spent his life fighting, but the movie does little to enhance the man’s legacy.

    Noah (Russell Crowe) faces the floods in Darren Aronofsky’s astonishing “Noah.”

    Aronofsky brings biblical tale to life in respectful, revisionist ‘Noah’

    Old Testament fury has rarely come to such spectacularly fearsome life than in “Noah,” Darren Aronofsky’s audacious adaptation of one of the Bible’s best-known but still enigmatic chapters. Be warned: Anyone familiar with the 500-year-old man and his ark may need to check some of their most cherished visualizations at the theater door. This is a movie that is clearly deeply respectful of its source material but also at times startlingly revisionist, a go-for-broke throwback to Hollywood biblical epics of yore that combines grandeur and grace, as well as a generous dollop of goofy overstatement.

    Dann & Raymond’s Movie Club looks at the greatest film comedies. Included is “The Graduate,” starring a young Dustin Hoffman.

    Reel life: Join Dann for more comedy clips

    Dann Gire and Raymond Benson present Part 2 of the Greatest Comedy Movies of All Time at the Schaumburg Township District Library. Also, don't miss the Chicago Film Critics Association's screening of Otto Preminger's 1954 western "River of No Return" at the Elk Grove Cinema.

    Electronic music DJ and producer, Skrillex, whose real name is Sonny Moore, recorded his first official album, “Recess,” as he toured the world.

    Skrillex takes control on first LP

    Skrillex is taking his inspiration from Kanye West these days. The electronic music DJ and producer spent a little time with West, sharing a plane flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas where each was to perform two years ago, and came away with an invitation to collaborate and an even deeper understanding of the possibilities in front of him.


    Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn delivers his annual budget address to a joint session of the General Assembly in the House chambers at the state Capitol Wednesday in Springfield. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

    Editorial: Governor only weakening his own credibility

    A Daily Herald editorial says the governor's proposal to make permanent the 5 percent income tax increase is a strike against his credibility.


    The election is not quite over

    Columnists Steven and Cokie Roberts: Democrats are reeling. They’re playing defense, not offense. Their loss in a Florida election for a vacant House seat — in a district President Obama carried twice — was a devastating blow. As Robert Gibbs, the president’s former spokesman, admitted on NBC’s “Meet the Press:” “There’s a real, real danger that Democrats could suffer big losses” this fall.


    Dershowitz & Starr: A matter of principle

    Columnist Kathleen Parker: When it comes to tackling complicated legal issues, one would be hard-pressed to conjure a less likely partnership than Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and Baylor University President Ken Starr. Witnessing Dershowitz and Starr discuss and largely agree on religious liberty issues raised by the popularly known Hobby Lobby case was pleasantly jarring.


    Background checks needed for gun buys
    A Lake Barrington letter to the editor: Background checks save lives without inconveniencing law-abiding gun owners. There is overwhelming support for background checks by the American people.


    A way to lower Russian energy influence
    A Palatine letter to the editor: The Euros cower before their rapacious eastern neighbor largely in fear of shut-offs of Russian natural gas and oil. The Obama administration has 25 permits pending for U.S. terminals to export some of America’s own burgeoning natural gas which would sharply lower Russian energy influence. The administration’s approval of the long-delayed Keystone pipeline would significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil making more non-Russian oil available to Europeans.


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